The Rogue roller Coaster

The past month has been full of ups and downs for rogue and I.

We are really getting into the tough part of training and it’s been quite the roller coaster.

We’ve had really good training sessions, and then we’ve had okay training sessions. I guess a positive part of all this is that we haven’t had any really bad training sessions.

Rogue is getting really comfortable with her new working gear and she is slowly settling into her guiding responsibilities.

I’ve been really focusing on her curb approaches, directions and confidence.

I’ve been trying to find friends willing to work with us, to give Rogue an opportunity to work without Huib.

I find my dogs get really comfortable with Huib and forget to focus on their jobs. they get into the habit of expecting Huib to take care of me, instead of just working along side him. It’s not just a problem rogue has, but one both Cessna and Phoenix have been guilty of.

Since Rogue and I did a lot of work in malls when we lived in the north, she is extremely confident and her work is almost always spot on. We had two really amazing training sessions that I wish i could have videoed. Her pace was amazing, her obstacle work was perfect, and her precision had me speechless.

Then, when we went to London to see my neuro ophthalmologist, she had me again speechless. She was guiding me around people and through the hospital hallways with such confidence, you’d think she had been there before. she was turning left and right when I asked and she only blew her up curbs by a couple of steps. Huib was with us and was so proud of the work we had done.

Last week I took Rogue and Cessna to the University of Guelph to learn the route from the bus stop to my class. I decided to start by working with Cessna, and then do it with Rogue. I thought Rogue would be able to learn from watching Cessna work – I was completely wrong. When it was Rogue’s turn, her pace was slow, we struggled with our curb approaches but her obstacle work and overall work was okay. I was frustrated because I didn’t understand where my confident little worker had gone.

On Saturday I returned to the campus with a friend to do some more work with Rogue. We still struggled with our curb approaches, she keeps stopping a few feet away from the down curb and then when we inch our way closer, she ends up blowing the curb by a couple of steps. her up curbs were a little better, but she was still taking a couple steps too much. her pace was better though and looking back, I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that her confidence level was higher, since we had been to the campus before. We worked on the route from the bus stop to my class and Rogue did well at finding the stairs, finding the doors, finding the ramps and even finding the elevator, but I think the biggest thing I realized was that I didn’t trust her. I was okay when I knew there wasn’t any stairs I could fall down, but as soon as I knew, or even thought, there were stairs coming up, I felt myself tensing and noticed Rogue’s attention drifting.

overall, I’d have to say rogue worked well, but I need work.

After talking to some friends about the work Rogue and I have done over the past month, I came to the conclusion that we aren’t going to get to the point where she can take over from Cessna if I don’t start getting her out daily. If I’m going to trust rogue, like I trust Cessna, then I am going to have to put in the time.

I’m going to get my cane out and use it to help rogue learn exactly where I want her to stop at curbs and stairs, while also using it to give me confidence that we’re safe.

I think the curb issues stem from something i unintentionally taught her.

To be honest, it seems that most of the issues I have with my dogs are because of something I unintentionally teach, lol!

I’m really going to try and make a conscious effort to get Rogue out daily, even if it means we need to work a bit in the rain.


  1. BS”D
    I’m glad that it’s going forward for you! I’ve also the problem with Hera, she becomes really lazy when I’m out with mum or Nathalieé. Have all your dogs stopped at up curbs? In Sweden, our dogs only stop at down curbs. I love to read about your adventures!
    Love! <3

  2. It sounds like you guys are doing well despite little hiccups. If you think about it, when the dogs in programs are trained, they go out every day and sometimes twice a day. So, going out with her every day is probably a good decision. The dogs here aren’t trained to stop on up curbs and at first I didn’t like it, but now I do. Once I was settled in with my working dogs-Jetta and Glacier both-I just stopped stopping at up curbs any way. What you’re doing is not easy, but I have fait you two will get there. Maybe having Cessna there the first time confused Rogue and decreased her confidence? Either way, good luck and know we’re all here to help if you need it. hugs

  3. Brooke, Cessna, Canyon & Rogue says

    Thanks Ladies for your comments.

    Yeah, the dogs from Cessna and Phoenix’s school are taught to stop at both the up and down curbs. I used to allow Phoenix to skip the up curbs, but sometimes he’d forget to show me the up curbs that are like a step, so when I got Cessna, I made sure not to allow her to forget the up curbs, even if it’s a ramp one.

    the curbs here now seem to all be ramp ones, so I’m wondering if maybe it would be okay to allow Rogue to forgo the up curbs and just stop at the down ones…something to think about…

  4. BS”D
    I think it’s very interesting to know what different schools teach their dogs and I can see the usefulness of stopping at up kerbs. Hera isn’t good at down kerbs either and that’s because her school was lazy, they think it’s okay for the dog to stop one metre from the kerbs and other things since the owner ‘knows where the things are’. Okay, for a partially blind owner I can agree but for me who am totally blind I only become confused and the poor Hera doesn’t know what I want her to do. I know that you’ll clear things up for Rogue, you’ll become a Dream team!

  5. This is so typical of all of us! I did this with Thane a lot. It took really watching myself and how I was doing at that moment to get those perfect working days with Thane. The work you had in the new hospital was amazing and shows that she is capable of generalizing from one hospital and/ or mall to the next similar situation.
    I think it has been very different for me because I did not have the luxury (so to speak) of having another guide to fall back on for the heavy lifting. It was either a cane and mini-guide or it was my GDIT. Once I worked on putting my partnership with Met behind me and allowed Thane to work the way Thane works best instead of molding him into the next Met, our partnership grew.
    The more you get out daily and work in different situations with Rogue, the more likely your trust and confidence with her will grow. You are at a similar place as I was when I was training Thane. I had lost more vision and was struggling with trusting not only myself but Thane’s work. As you know there have been a good number of oops unintentional training that went into my training of Thane. It has not been easy to re-train this dog who lives by the motto of *do it once and it is law* but stick with those up and down curbs and you guys will make a rock solid team. It may not feel like it today but Rogue is young and has what it takes.
    Rogue is also at that age where their brains and confidence roller coaster rides any way so don’t get too discouraged on the *so-so* days They come out of it. grin
    Even now 5 yrs into our guide partnership, I am finding out remarkable things about the two of us. One of the best things I am trying to put into practice is to not *fortune tell* for both my own health and my partnership. Even if there are a couple so-so moments in a morning when we first get going on an outing, it can turn into an awesome day together. It does not have to be an entire day of *so-so* Learning that about myself/ about us, has really had a remarkable impact on our bond and partnership- FWIW grin

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